College students are writers. No matter our major, papers are required even though we might not consider ourselves writers. We often think that “real” writers don’t struggle coming up with ideas, drafting or revising. Real writers have inspiration to lead and sustain them through paper after paper. In order to encourage each other this semester, it may help to break down some common misconceptions in order to identify as writers.
Most writers, even most moderately published writers, still work “day jobs.” It is easy to forget that the idea of a writer is something tainted by an element of romance or fantastical thinking. When we think of writers in that way, it can be hard to identify with that impractical image. Our campus is largely composed of non-English majors, yet most classes require papers. It helps to identify ourselves as writers as part of a writing community.
We often think of inspiration as something only creative writers deal with, as some kind of epiphany moment where suddenly a poem writes itself through a muse rather than any amount of actual writing work. This is another romantic idea. Inspiration comes and goes and all work, even creative pieces usually go through extended drafting, sharing and revising before it is complete. Changing our idea about the work of writing can also help us to identify more as a writer.
Lets embrace writing this semester as an aspect of our college experience and think of it as an opportunity to practice our skills with captive, critical audiences. Our professors can challenge us to communicate more effectively and clearly. If we accept the challenge, identify ourselves as writers and put in the work it takes to complete more coherent drafts, these skills will follow and support us through whatever career or life path we choose.